EDF Recognizes, Shares Winning Company Strategies

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently unveiled "Innovations Review 2009: Green Advances for a New Economy."

"Environmental innovation is a powerful way to create business value," said Gwen Ruta, vice president of corporate partnerships at EDF. "These innovations tackle today’s environmental and economic challenges head on—improving the planet and the bottom line at the same time. We hope that they serve as useful models, inspire further innovation, and continue to redefine business as usual."

Innovations Review 2009 showcases innovations from companies including Cisco Systems, Coca-Cola, Google, and Wal-Mart. Other examples include:

  • High-tech produced by Hydropoint and PureSense that monitor real-time weather and soil conditions to help companies reduce water used for crop irrigation and commercial landscaping by 15 to 40 percent.
  • A financing plan developed by Midwest Energy that allows homeowners to lower their monthly bills through efficiency upgrades, while generating a new source of revenue for the company. This model has the potential to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent.
  • A mortgage program developed by Zocalo Community Development in Colorado that is boosting sales by offering homebuyers lower interest rates if they elect to buy condominiums equipped with solar panels.
  • Intel's annual employee bonus calculation now includes environmental metrics, tying compensation to the company's environmental results for all employees—from the mailroom up to the C-Suite.

One of the featured innovations is Bon Appétit Management Company's Low-Carbon Diet, now implemented in 400 corporate and university cafes around the country.

"Nearly half of all American meals—about 500 million per day—are produced in commercial kitchens," said Fedele Bauccio, founder and chief executive officer of Bon Appétit Management Co. "With each plateful of food that comes out of our kitchens, we are creating a clear example of low-carbon eating."

The featured innovations were vetted by EDF and a distinguished panel of experts from the fields of environmental science, law, and finance. The final selection includes 15 innovations from around the country. Each innovation was evaluated for environmental benefits, business benefits, replicability, and innovativeness.

"Reducing our buildings’ environmental impact is an important step in achieving our business and stewardship goals," said Kevin Hagen, REI’s director of corporate social responsibility. "Through energy-efficient technology, the use of recycled and renewable materials and connecting our members to local outdoor recreational opportunities, we are better aligning our brick-and-mortar stores with our commitment to the outdoors."

Verizon has rolled out energy-saving solutions on employee desktops, reducing operating costs, emissions and energy.

"Verizon’s power-management project is a simple but powerful example of how technology can help both the environment and the bottom line" said Kathryn C. Brown, senior vice president of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility at Verizon. "We’re also proud of the wide range of customer applications from teleworking to smart electrical grids, all of which utilize broadband technology to benefit the environment."